Fair weather greeted the fairer sex at Chapman State Park for the seventh annual Women in the Outdoors (WITO) event on Saturday.
The event, presented by the Kinzua Allegheny Women in the Outdoors Committee of the National Wild Turkey Federation, drew approximately 125 participants this year according to event organizer Jessica Arnold. The figure, she pointed out, is over double the attendance at the first WITO event.
"It's just a way of encouraging women to enjoy various activities in the outdoors," volunteer Penny Lester said.
Photos by Jacob Perryman
In the outdoors
Cindy Briggs and Linda Bartholomew gave a Spinnin’ and Grinnin’ class (above) on hand spinning and weaving wool during the Women in the Outdoors event at Chapman State Park Saturday. Members of His Way Archers of Jamestown, an archery-based Christian ministry, provided instruction in shooting bows and crossbows (below).
Lester and Arnold noted the event is manned by an all-volunteer staff, including instructors. Approximately 70 people contributed their time to this year's WITO event providing 26 classes.
"Our idea is that women need to have the opportunity to try things hands-on," Lester said.
Participants were able to sign up for a total of four classes throughout the day. In addition, lunch was provided by volunteers using campfire style cooking, most notably utilizing Dutch oven preparations. Bob Zumstein and Cory Turben of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also provided a snake exhibition and education booth.
"Its just a great event," Arnold said. "Its good for the park, getting people out that might not realize it's there. It gets some people outside to do things they wouldn't do."
The event is backed by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the WITO program has grown to become one of the organization's largest women's events, according to Lester. Chapman State Park, sportsmen's clubs across Warren County, local businesses and area organizations also support the event.
"It's their brainchild," Lester added. "To help promote women in the outdoors."
Events centered around Chapman, but, due to state park regulations, classes involving the discharging of firearms were held on nearby state game lands. A bus shuttled participants to shooting events.
Classes included: archery; bee keeping; bluebird home building; canoeing; Dutch oven cooking; easy camping; edible landscaping: graze your way around your home; fly-fishing; garden design with maintenance in mind; geocaching; hook em' then cook em' fishing; invasive/toxic plants; jewelry making (basic); jewelry making (advanced); kayaking; knot tying; metal detecting; mountain biking; outdoor photography; outdoor survival; primitive skills; soaps for the outdoor gal; self-protection; shooting sports; spinnin' and grinnin' wool yarn spinning and weaving; tai chi; trail running and wild game for weight watchers, slow cookers and health-conscious food lovers.